By TIM CLEVELAND
Most story times that area libraries host consist of a librarian reading books to children and a few songs. The Austintown library went another way on June 12 with its Gotta Move story time, which got the children more active in the storytime activities.
“The story time is Gotta Move,” Austintown library children’s librarian Nikki Puhalla said. “It’s just a lot of dancing, singing. I try and read a couple books to the kids. This is more for kids ages 2-5 who just like to move around a lot, can’t really sit still, don’t want to sit still.
“Other branches have done it before. We just decided we need something different than the traditional toddler-preschool story times. Just something not structured, have fun, kids can just hang out with other kids and dance around.”
Puhalla read books such as “Giant Pop-Out Shapes” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” but the majority of the time was spent on songs that got the children up and moving around.
Those songs included “Tickle the Clouds,” “If You Listen and You Hear Me,” ”Jumping and Counting” and “The Wheels on the Bus.” The children also danced with scarves and moved around under a parachute that was moved up and down by Puhalla and the parents.
Lisa Marzano of Austintown attended along with her daughters Stella and Elliza. She said the girls enjoy the activities and doing them have helped them in a variety of ways.
“We love it. This is such a good program,” Lisa said. “I brought them to it quite a few times. They do so many fun things, it’s great.
“It’s wonderful. Motor skills, social skills, absolutely. Especially her [Elliza]. She’s attached to me, but she really comes here and she blossoms. She likes to be with the other kids. She really enjoys it. She’s [Stella] a butterfly, anyway. She doesn’t need any help in that area.”
Puhalla agreed that children’s motor skills can be improved by the Gotta Move story time.
“Probably with the dancing and listening to directions, modeling what I do and with their motor skills, too,” she said. “Being in their own space and not running into each other.”